Category Archives: Mobility

Resource Article: VIA Rail and the Wallet App on iDevices

VIA Rail Tickets and the Wallet App:

Note: The below steps assume that a VIA Rail profile has been registered on their Web Site.

1. On your iDevice install the VIARail App from the App Store. It’s free.
2. In the VIARail App log in using your user name and password, which then will display your purchased tickets on the main page.
3. At the bottom of the page is a button called, Boarding Pass, double tap on it.
4. Near the top of the page will be a button called, Add to Wallet. Do that for each ticket you have purchased. In my case I had two tickets, my sighted guide’s and mine.
5. Open the Wallet App to confirm that your tickets are listed. If you have more than one ticket they will be stacked under the same item in the list. Double tap on it and near the bottom you will find a number picker that you will flick in order to show the second, or subsequent tickets. This might well be where you’ll find the bar code that the Ticket Agent will need to see when you board the train.
6. To remove the ticket once the event/trip has passed, double tap on the ticket in the Wallet App, then double tap on the More Info button at the bottom of the page, then scroll through the page to find the Remove Button. It will ask you to confirm that you want to remove it. Each ticket will have to be removed individually.

End of article.

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GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes: White Canes and other Mobility Aids, February 8, 2017

GTT National Conference Call.

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

Summary Notes

February 8, 2017.

Questions from previous GTT NatConCall:
How do I find an Insert Key on my small PC laptop:
• To have the Caps Lock Key become an Insert Key do the following; Press Alt + the letter H to access the Help menu of jaws, arrow to the Start-up wizzard, Tab through the dialog box and change keyboard layout to Laptop. Press the Enter Key to save the changes. This will have the Caps Lock Key turned into an Insert Key, which means that pressing it twice quickly will toggle the actual Caps Lock on and off.
• Alternatively, from Staples, London Drugs or Best Buy you can purchase a USB Numeric Keypad that will allow you to access JAWS navigation from the Numpad.
• Some people carry a full-sized external keyboard, however Lap top bags are often not able to hold it all. Weight is also a consideration for some. Albert usually travels with a lap top, scanner and MS Ergo keyboard.
• For Mac desktop and laptops there is available a trackpad instead of using the laptop built-in trackpad. It is approximately the same size as an iPhone/iPod and allows the user to use the regular and familiar swiping gestures to do things such as:
1. Start and stop speech
2. Select an item
3. Read continuously
4. Scroll down by page
5. Turn screen curtain or speech on and off
These are done just like on the i devices so people using them will be familiar with the gestures.

GPS for Mobility:
• Another question was related to the use of GPS devices while travelling in our communities: How do you multitask with mobile GPS devices.
• Some indicated they use their stand-alone and iOS GpS apps, but they turn a lot of the POI and other verbosity off. Maybe just approaching streets need to be spoken while walking.
• When you are in unfamiliar areas, you can quickly turn these things on if you wish.
• Albert likes the clip on speaker from the trekker Maestro. The Breeze one doesn’t seem to work with iPhones. Kim uses the aftershokz headphones and likes them very much.
• If anyone knows of any other available clip on speaker please let us know through the comments on the http://www.GTTProgram.WordPress.com web site.

White Canes and Mobility Preferences:
• Several participants indicated they use Dog Guides, with folded white canes used for locating items or for indoor use.
• Cane Tips people like the roller tip that is like a ball.
• Cyramic tip; sharp sound and because it is hard it never wears out.
• What to do with the cane when signing documents at a counter etc; Stick folded cane in a back pocket or handbag.
• One person indicated that she shoves the cane down her sock.

Do you wash the cane tips when entering your home or public buildings:
• Some people wash their canes regularly, and others only when they’ve gotten particularly dirty.
• Instead of setting a dirty cane on counters/tables, try placing the cane on the floor between your feet when sitting at a restaurant.
• Using the elastic, attach the folded cane to your chair.
• Using the elastic, atach the cane to your purse strap or backpack.
• There are holders/pouches/hooks you can buy for folded mobility canes that attach to your purse-strap or belt.
• Ambutech is one place where White Mobility Cane Holsters, Pouches and Hooks can be purchased.
https://ambutech.com/shop-online/accessories/pouches-holsters-and-hooks

Is it wise to have the elastic attached to your wrist when walking with a mobility cane:
• Most recommended that it isn’t wise to do so.
• It is safer to drop your cane than put it around your wrist in the event it gets caught up by a passing bike or motor vehicle.

What styles of canes are most often used:
• Few on the call use the Rigid cane. It is too cumbersome to store on buses, trains and airplanes. Albert prefers the rigid for most excursions, however uses a folding cane when travelling with sighted guides.
• One can carry folding canes in backpacks or purses when using Dog Guides if needed.
• It was thought by some that drivers seem to be better able to see white canes than Dog Guides. Perhaps it’s because of the increased usage of service dogs.
• Some thought the red stripe at the bottom of the cane is to show drivers that you want to cross the street when it is held out in front of the user horizontal to the ground.
• Some believe that the red stripe at the bottom of the cane is for depicting deaf blindness.
• Some have noted that the cane disappears from view when walking on painted street crossings.

Multi-Coloured Canes:
• Some people use them without issue, and the first time Albert used his the Greyhound Driver in Victoria didn’t recognize it.
• Once colour wears off one user said she cannot buy replacement tape.
• Does a coloured cane really show that you are blind?

BuzzClip and Amutech Glasses:
• No one on the call is currently using BuzzClip or Ambutech glasses, however they have been trialled by some.
• BuzzClip or Ambutech glasses are good for staying abreast of the person in front of you in line-ups, for finding open doorways in malls, locating bus stop sign posts, etc.
• One person who tried the Ambutech glasses while using their white cane thought they were receiving too much information and were distracted by it.
• One participant uses the Mowat sensor, which sends out a beam, or beams that causes the device to vibrate when the user approaches a person or thing. This device is no longer manufactured, however operates on the same principal as the BuzzClip and Ambutech Glasses.

Monoculars for low vision mobility:
• Some people use them for reading the names/numbers on the front of buses and menus/signs on the wall when out in public places.
• One person indicated that she uses the iPhone camera and the magnification app instead of a monocular.
• Kim has heard that SuperVision is a great free magnifyer app for the iPhone.

How to be more visible when travelling with a mobility aid:
• Make sure you are visible with reflecters, flashing lights or other high-visibility wearable devices.
• Some ideas of what is available are, collars for guide dogs in red or blue, continuous or flashing.
• Construction worker high-viz vests have stripes and lots of pockets etc.
• Some people wear helmets or other protective gear in the winter.
• One option is the Ice halo head protection Padded head band. Check the bottom of this document for details on how to order.

How to keep hands warm when travelling with a mobiliby aid in winter:
• Hot pockets in gloves, which can be purchased at cosco, London Drugs and many outdoor/sports stores.
• Someone in Vancouver sews battery operated warmers into gloves, socks, shirts and pants that is operated by a battery pack worn by the user.

Appendix 1:

SAFETY WITH STYLE

Several styles and many colours to choose from!

Ice Halo, the Canadian owned and manufacturer of the innovative head band protection for sports or pleasure. Check out the new styles that now include Halo Hats at http://www.icehalo.com. .

Don’t risk losing ice time in your favourite activity – Don’t hold back your best because of that nagging fear of a nasty fall. Its lightweight, closed cell construction doesn’t make your head hot and the Velcro closures make it adjustable and secure. The choice of material and colour make it easy to find the right one for you. It’s available in team colours, and you can customize with your corporate logo. The Ice Halo is a great way to keep you or your friends and loved ones safer on the ice.

PROTECTIVE HATS

All Pro Hats have an inner vinyl lining of nitrile High Density foam (the same foam used in many Hockey Helmets) to help lessen the impact of a fall. All Halo products have been tested to Hockey helmet standards and exceed the requirements for front, sides and back impacts where padded. The toque and knitted caps have padding wrapping all around the head. The baseball and army caps have padding in the back and sides of the cap for added protection.

Lori Fry continues in her role as representative for the Blind in Canada with Ice Halo and is able to provide discounted prices to curlers or others looking for stylish head protection. Many thanks to Barbara Armstrong, President of Ice Halo for her sponsorship of the 100 Mile House Blind Curling Team and such strong support to the vision impaired and blind community of Canada.

In order to receive special reduced pricing on your order, please contact Lori at 250-395-2452 or ODIFRY@shaw.ca

Guest Article: High Tech Tools for the Visually Impaired

High Tech Tools for the Visually Impaired

Image by Erikawittlieb (via Pixabay)

Assistive technology for those who are visually impaired is a personal topic to me. My sister-in-law has limited vision and recently came to live with my husband and me. We knew had a lot of work to do in order to prepare our old farmhouse for her and her guide dog, but we didn’t know where to start. I’m so glad we did our research, because as it turns out, technology has come a long way in making the home a more accessible place for those who can’t rely on their vision to guide them!

The technology behind things like voice recognition, GPS and speech to text has continued to get more and more advanced. With each advancement comes a wide range of uses for those who are blind or partially-sighted. When preparing your home for a new resident with a visual impairment, it might be useful to explore some of the high tech appliances, applications and gadgets out there to make daily living easier for those with disabilities. Explore these new high-tech products for the blind or visually impaired.

Talking Microwave

Imagine the convenience of a microwave that is just a little bit smarter. This microwave comes equipped with a voice that walks the user through each function and setting for the unit. It comes with the same functionality of a standard microwave including the rotating plate for even cooking as well as the added features for independent use.

Apple Watch and the iPhone

Wearable technology like the Apple Watch can be useful for those with visual impairments when paired with applications for voice recognition, personal GPS, and voice to text. In order for the Apple Watch to work in this manner, it needs to be paired with an iPhone.Personal GPS Apps

Moving to a new area can be challenging for anyone, but for a blind person learning a new apartment building or city block can be especially challenging. Personal GPS applications use the standard GPS technology and customize it for someone with limited vision. An app like Seeing Eye GPS adapts GPS for someone who uses a white cane or a guide dog in the community. LowViz Guide uses GPS technology to assist those with low vision to navigate inside buildings. Nearby Explorer not only provides directions to those who are blind, but also describes surrounding environments in such a way that the user knows what landmarks are in the area. Similarly, Trekker Breeze is a handy GPS device that “speaks” directions, and is a good option for those who don’t have a smartphone and can’t download an assistive app.

Smart Light Bulbs

The average light bulb gets an amazing update in the Smart Light Bulb. These lights can be controlled from a smart application or via programming that includes changing color, brightness, and timers. The bulbs have a variety of features that can be useful for those with visual impairments including being able to adapt light to the user with the best colors of light for the individual, brighter lights as needed and even controlling timed intervals.

Moshi Interactive Voice Response Clock

Instead of using those tiny buttons and hard to control dials to set an alarm clock, Moshi is interactive and voice controlled. The oversized digital read out is great for those with limited vision while the voice activation feature works for the full range of vision abilities.

Recognition Apps

For someone with a visual impairment, something as simple as recognizing color can make dressing independently impossible. While recognition apps started with things like identifying a popular song, they are now being used to turn a smartphone into a tool for identifying color, denominations of money and more. The Color Identifier uses the camera on the smartphone to scan, identify and then verbally share the name of the color scanned.

High tech gadgets are often made in order to make life easier, and this is the case for those with visual impairments. Talking appliances, smartphone apps and even light bulbs with a brain give users a bit more freedom and independence as they navigate through daily life and give them an opportunity to pursue their passions, whatever they may be. Things like recognition software will only continue to expand and open up more possibilities for uses by those with visual impairments.

Submitted by,
Jackie Waters
jackie@hyper-tidy.com